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by Tim Yu

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 3:17 PM MDT


Consider this just a public service announcement. Sprint Spark Band 41 Carrier Aggregation (2x CA) now is officially live according to a Sprint internal announcement leaked on Reddit today by a verified Sprint employee in the Sprint subreddit. Late last month, S4GRU found evidence of 2x CA being live in Atlanta, but this now is a formal notice that Sprint has sent to its employees.


This is the present lineup of 2x CA capable devices:

  1. Samsung Galaxy S6
  2. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
  3. Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
  4. LG G Flex 2
  5. LG G4
  6. HTC One M9
  7. ZTE Hot Spot

Edit: S4GRU has been fielding numerous questions on other devices. To make this very clear, the above are the only devices right now capable of 2xB41 Carrier Aggregation because they have the hardware (category 6 modem) that is required. Any other phones that were released previously are not compatible because their modems are not category 6 (or higher).


As detailed in the internal document (posted below), the seven devices may receive automatic profile updates this week to enable 2x CA. Alternatively, as some S4GRU users have discovered, 2x CA may already be enabled or can be enabled manually via the hidden Data programming screen.


Next, these are the initial markets in which Sprint is rolling out 2x CA:

  1. Boston
  2. New Jersey
  3. Long Island
  4. Philadelphia Metro
  5. Providence
  6. Southern Connecticut
  7. Baltimore
  8. Cincinnati
  9. Columbus
  10. East Michigan
  11. West Michigan
  12. Indianapolis
  13. Washington DC
  14. Austin
  15. Dallas Fort Worth
  16. Houston
  17. Kansas
  18. Missouri
  19. San Antonia
  20. Atlanta / Athens
  21. Miami / West Palm
  22. Orlando
  23. South West Florida
  24. Tampa
  25. Chicago
  26. Colorado
  27. Milwaukee
  28. Minnesota
  29. Oregon / SW Washington
  30. West Washington
  31. Utah
  32. LA Metro
  33. Las Vegas
  34. North LA
  35. Orange County
  36. Riverside / San Bernardino
  37. San Diego
  38. SF Bay
  39. South Bay

For reference, here is a S4GRU map of all Sprint markets:




Finally, this is the internal document posted on Reddit:




Source(s): Reddit


by Tim Yu

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 08:51 AM MDT


Mid summer has arrived in the northern hemisphere, and that means the harvest of fall flagship handsets is just getting underway. (The exception are Apples, which are planted and picked all in one afternoon in September.)


The past two weeks brought our first crop. A new authorization for a Motorola device in the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database arrived yesterday. Just about in time for Motorola's expected August/September launch of its flagship (read: Moto X) devices.


Prior to that, S4GRU staff discovered a Motorola device filing last week with FCC ID IHDT56UC2, approved for LTE bands 2/4/5/7/12/17/25/29/41 in addition to the standard W-CDMA and GSM bands. Quick staff analysis of the filing lead to the conclusion that it was a either a fully unlocked version or a T-Mobile variant -- due to onboard VoWi-Fi and intra band band 4 carrier aggregation, both of which T-Mobile is pushing hard.


But other tech media discovered and wrote articles on the handset filing -- with some speculating that it was for Sprint as well, due to the inclusion of LTE bands 25/41. Did they overlook that band 26 and any CDMA2000 capability were absent? We know very well that Sprint devices must have LTE bands 25/26/41 and CDMA2000 band classes 0/1/10 at the minimum.


So, we waited with watchful eye for any new authorizations from Motorola, expecting a Sprint variant soon. Indeed, Motorola delivered FCC ID IHDT56UC1.


Fully Sprint CCA/RRPP and VZW/AT&T/T-Mobile compatible


This handset is fully certified for the Sprint network and those of its CCA/RRPP partners. It also completely covers VZW and T-Mobile network capabilities, mostly for AT&T, too, though lacking Ma Bell's emerging LTE bands 29/30.


For a full rundown, it supports:


LTE bands: 2 / 4 / 5 / 7 / 12 / 13 / 17 / 25 / 26 / 41

CDMA Band Class: 0 / 1 / 10

W-CDMA Band: 2 / 4 / 5

GSM: 850 / 1900


So, Sprint Spark? Got it. VZW XLTE? Got it. T-Mobile band 12? Got it. This handset does almost everything -- including carrier aggregation.


Sprint Band 41 Carrier Aggregation Capable


The device is a category 6 UE and supports all of the myriad FDD carrier aggregation combos present in the unlocked or T-Mobile variant detailed earlier. But this variant also includes Sprint's LTE Advanced implementation of TDD carrier aggregation on band 41 -- aka 2x CA band 41 or B41+B41. For reference, S4GRU confirmed activation of carrier aggregation and wrote about it a few weeks ago.


Now, this is the seventh announced device to support Sprint's band 41 carrier aggregation, joining the ranks of the Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, HTC One M9, LG G Flex 2, and LG G4.


Edit: There may be issues with MXPE's B41 carrier aggregation compatibility with the Sprint Network.


To wrap things up, I am not conclusively declaring that this is the 2015 Moto X nor that it is definitively headed to Sprint postpaid -- we all know what happened with the Sprint variant 2014 Moto X. But the band 41 carrier aggregation support screams Sprint and the FCC authorization timing comes spot on for an August/September device launch, as historically has been the time when Motorola has launched its flagship devices.


So, you be the judge...


Source: FCC


by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 1:30 PM MDT


Update: at 7:00 p.m. MDT Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure announced the following on Twitter, "We heard you loud and clear and we are removing the 600 kbps on streaming video. #Allin and we won't stop"


We don't do many editorials here at S4GRU. We tend to editorialize in our forums. Where our opinions run rampant. We also don't do articles about plan offerings. We are a network focused site. However, our Staff here at S4GRU feels that one is due concerning Sprint's new All In plans.


We aren't sure where Sprint was going with this. Is it a new plan or is it a Trojan horse meant to protect the network from streaming?


The title "ALL IN" and the hashtag #AllIn conjures up the thought of the poker strategy. Where you push all your chips in with your best and final bet. The one you do when you have a winning hand. The bet that ends all other bets. It's everything you can offer up. You have given your all. It's the best you can do and you believe it is unbeatable. Because you are putting it all on the line.


But the All In plan doesn't appear to be a winning strategy. We believe it will not succeed for Sprint as they intend. It is not really less expensive or more attractive than existing plans or Tmo's new plans. And has a Draconian hard streaming cap of 600kbps throughput. That streaming cap is going over like a lead filled balloon.


Simple is good, you're on the right track


We like the idea of simplicity. No more hidden costs and fees. You just pay one flat rate for phone and unlimited data. OK. The David Beckham video and the attractive Sprint store rep is good. It makes a great point, compared to your competitors. But it's an easy thing for your competitors to replicate. Simple pricing. And they don't have fine print limiting streaming to only 600kbps. That really is the kicker here.


So we just aren't seeing the new and innovative thing with All In. You already have plans that price out the same way as All In (some even less expensive). It appears as a marketing gimmick that is disguising a desperate move to limit streaming. This is not popular with your current customers and your new customers are likely going to hate you for it. After they find out.


Marcelo, it's inappropriate that David Beckham touts unlimited movie watching and you reference unlimited watching videos in your Press Release. 600kbps video streaming can hardly run any YouTube or Netflix streaming. It will buffer significantly even with the lowest resolution settings. 600kbps is insufficient for most moderate quality video streaming on a smartphone screen.


Unlimited only matters because of streaming


Let's face facts here. Unlimited only matters to most customers because of streaming. I'm just pulling a number out of the sky here based on my experiences running a Sprint themed wireless blog, but I would venture a guess that 95% of your customers use just a gig or two of data monthly if you do not include streaming. It's not hard to offer unlimited data excluding streaming.


Most customers who see Sprint as a value in wireless is because of unlimited streaming. If customers do not stream, they can live with reasonable data buckets. 1GB, 2GB, 5GB plans will work for almost everyone, excluding streaming. If you remove streaming from unlimited, most people don't care about unlimited when they understand it all.


Yes, you will still allow unlimited streaming with All In plans, but at only 600kbps. That is way too low. It is a defacto removal of unlimited streaming. I'm sure it was put in place to reduce the burden on the network significantly. By getting people to stop streaming because of the poor video quality. And reducing the burden on the network for those who continue with poor quality streaming.


With all that said, we get it. We get the need to do something about streaming. It is a problem. It is a huge drain on your network. But we need to call it what it is and not hide the problem in a new plan and then tout unlimited streaming to the masses. That part is a huge mistake. The media, bloggers and your customers are all crying foul.


Unlimited data abusers are killing the network, we get it. But this is not the solution or the time


The problem here is that the All In plan punishes everyone. But we see the issue here as data abusers. Customers who use vastly higher data amounts than everyone else. The five percenters, or even the one percenters. Tmo has decided to deal with these types by creating a monthly soft cap of 21GB on unlimited plans. So for Tmo, they have drawn a line and said that customers who exceed 21GB are the ones causing the most problems on their network.


Most customers do not use more than 21GB per month. Probably 95% - 98% use less than that. To cite our own S4GRU internal poll, somewhere just north of 8% use that much data. And our members are typically pretty heavy users compared to the general population.


But our data also illustrates that a minority of users, those who use more than 21GB per month, have a huge impact to the total usage. Just a small handful of abusers can account for 30% to 50% of all traffic. These people are killing unlimited data for all of us.


S4GRU Staff and most of our members understand the burden that the abusers are creating to the network. We have been sitting by waiting for something to be done about it. We know something has to be done, and we support something to be done in general. But this is not it.


The T-Mobile 21GB soft cap is one way. And frankly, it's much better than a 600kbps streaming cap. Your streaming cap affects all customers who stream. The Tmo 21GB cap affects only customers who have used more than their fair share. And it gets reset next month. Your 600kbps plan never gets reset. A customer can never do anything to have a good quality stream, except leave Sprint.


I can understand why you wouldn't mind chasing away data abusers. But why would you want to chase away good customers who occasionally want to have a quality streaming experience? You're telling them they have to go to T-Mobile, or AT&T or Verizon if they want a quality video streaming experience. Bad idea!


You need to remove the 600kbps streaming limit immediately from All In. Or it is dead on arrival. DOA. David Beckham can't save it as is. Like he is going to watch videos on his smartphone streamed at 600kbps. You need to do this in a way that punishes only those who abuse your unlimited offering. Not every day customers.


Perhaps limiting video streaming to something more useful? Like 2Mbps. Or maybe a soft cap, like 21GB? Or 25GB? Also, the previous plans of only limiting users on sites that are over capacity. That at least was fair. I understand Net Neutrality all plays into this. But something better is needed. You're strangling your Golden Goose. It feels like you have just put Unlimited on life support.


In conclusion


We like the idea of simplicity. All In has good roots and the David Beckham video really drives home the point. It can be a good differentiator for Sprint. Although some of our members would like to see the pricing even lower to compete better with existing plans.


That said, Sprint must do something else with the video stream throttling. It's nearly universal that 600kbps is too low. It's not even close to satisfactory. We have never had a virtually unanimous response before. Until now. Nearly everyone believes this is an outright awful move.


We could find almost zero support even among Sprint's most loyal base. Marcelo, the tech media and the haters are eating your lunch today. You're being flamed, and All In will go down in flames if you don't do something about this. And fast.


Unlimited is what Sprint uses to differentiate itself from everyone else. And Sprint's unlimited reputation is being injured right now. Sprint cannot handle being branded as the network with unlimited, except streaming. It will drive customers away and keep them away in droves. The reputation is already starting to stick. Fix it! Fix it now!


Marcelo, we are begging you to crack down on the data abusers. Not your everyday customers who may stream occasionally. Or may use a lot over one or two days every few months when on vacation. Most of your customers want to be able to have a quality streaming experience within a reasonable amount every month.


But my real fear is new customers. They are expecting a quality streaming experience, as they received from their previous providers. Now just unlimited. It's not like Sprint sales reps are going to be telling everyone they are going to have a low resolution always buffering video streaming experience. It will be in the fine print that no one will read. And they are going to be pissed off at Sprint once they figure it out. And your competition and the Sprint haters are going to eat this up. John Legere is already grinning ear to ear like the Grinch who Stole Sprint Customers.


There's still time to fix All In. But time is running out. Please make me look foolish for #AllInDOA. I want to eat my words. Err, hashtag. Marcelo did make me eat it! And it was tasty!




by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - 5:20 PM MDT


It's finally happening. 2x Carrier Aggregation was found in the wild today on the Sprint network! We have been receiving reports for the past several months that second B41 channels were appearing all over Sprint-land, but nothing about finding them being aggregated together. That changed this afternoon.


It was discovered today by an S4GRU Member in the Atlanta market that Carrier Aggregation is live on LTE Band 41 (TDD LTE 2600). S4GRU Member Camcroz was able to get his Samsung Galaxy S6 to connect to two B41 carriers simultaneously. Even with a medicore -108dBm signal while moving highway speeds, he was able to get nearly 90Mbps. Theoretical maximum for 2xCA on 20MHz TDD LTE channels in the time configuration Sprint is using is 160Mbps in ideal circumstances.


We do not know the extent of how much is live in Atlanta or other markets. This may only have been a test and will be taken offline soon. Or it's possible that it is going live today in other Nokia markets, or maybe even Sprint-wide where two B41 channels are live.


Camcroz reported to S4GRU he was able to keep B41 2xCA while travelling down Highway 400 near Avalon Mall in Alpharetta all the way across most of Atlanta, losing it as he approached the Hartsfield/Jackson International Airport where he ended up on Clear B41 single carrier.


The picture below represents the member's findings. He reports that he had 94Mbps Down in his best test. He had to manually enable Carrier Aggregation himself on his GS6 using ##DATA#. Sprint devices currently have it disabled automatically. They will likely push an update in the future to enable it for customers.




This is two 20MHz TDD-LTE B41 carriers connected together via Carrier Aggregation (noted as 2xCA). Sprint says it will not be until 2016 before they have devices released and the network prepared for 3xCA (three 20MHz carriers aggregated together).


Let us know if you are able to find any 2xCA in your neck of the woods. Report your findings in the comments below or in an appropriate S4GRU forum thread. Viva la Carrier Aggregation!!!


by Andrew J. Shepherd

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Friday, May 8, 2015 - 12:15 PM MDT


Update: A week after the Sprint variant LG G4 original authorization documents were released at the FCC OET and S4GRU published this RF performance article, a Class II Permissive Change filing was added to the G4's docket. In writing the article last week, we did not detect anything amiss with the original filing, so this represents an optional change, which the filing discloses as hardware modification affecting the main antenna. Interestingly, none of the previous antenna gain figures have been altered, but the ERP/EIRP figures have increased or decreased. See the smoothed and averaged differences below:

  • Band class 0: -1 dB
  • Band class 10: -2 dB
  • Band 4: -3 dB
  • Band 5: -2 dB
  • Band 12: -2 dB
  • Band 26: -2 dB
  • Band 41: +2 dB

So, you win some, you lose some. Overall, the Sprint variant G4 has become weaker in tested RF performance. Those negative differences, however, are limited mostly to lower frequencies in the 700-1700 MHz range. The 1900 MHz range is unaffected, and the 2600 MHz range is increased. The other win is that a Class II filing before a device is released generally means that release is imminent. Look for the G4 on shelves and online soon.


Yes, I know it is no longer May 4th. And we are not in a Samsung Galaxy far, far away. But this is episode IV in the LG G handset series, just four days removed from May 4th. That should be enough of the number four to satisfy anyone. Even if this isn't the Motorola Droid you're looking for, is the LG G4 a new hope for a flagship Sprint handset this spring?


S4GRU staff has been watching the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorization database over the past week as different G4 variants were revealed. The VZW variant came earlier in the week, and the Sprint variant ZNFLS991 documents were uploaded yesterday. Of course, we are going to write an article about it, so let us get started.


Right away, the G4 adheres to what has become the standard Sprint variant configuration: tri band LTE, non SVLTE, single RF path with e/CSFB. Additionally, it covers the CCA/RRPP LTE bands. And it was tested for domestic GSM/W-CDMA bands -- phone unlockers rejoice. Finally, it does officially support downlink carrier aggregation as its lone Release 10 feature. More on CA later.


Next, it is fairly well known and somewhat controversial that the G4 opted not for the top of the line Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 but for the lesser Snapdragon 808, taking some performance hits in graphics and memory departments, for example. S4GRU does not involve itself in that debate -- that is not the place of this cellular RF focused article. But the chipset choice is relevant because both the Snapdragon 808 and Snapdragon 810 incorporate the same Category 9 X10 LTE baseband on die. So, rest assured, the choice of the Snapdragon 808 does not lessen any RF capabilities.


On that topic, if you need a refresher on the new Qualcomm LTE baseband naming/numbering scheme, see this sidebar from our earlier article on the HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6:


As an aside, Qualcomm is changing up its baseband modem branding and numbering schemes. Previously, branding was Gobi and numbering was, to use one example, MDM9625 for standalone modem chipsets. Then, many Snapdragon processor chipsets also included the same modems on die -- a la the Snapdragon 800, aka MSM8974, which integrated the same stack as in the standalone MDM9625. Branding is now changing universally to Snapdragon and numbering, to use just one example again, will follow the X10 LTE pattern. That last example is the Snapdragon 810's brand new LTE category 9 modem, which has no standalone modem precursor. But other rebranded and renumbered examples with their standalone precursors include the Snapdragon X5 LTE (MDM9625), Snapdragon X7 LTE (MDM9635), and Snapdragon X12 LTE (MDM9645).


Back to discussion of CA support, we have stated previously that FCC OET authorization filings are not required to disclose downlink CA -- because that is only reception, not transmission. But the G4 filing does include an explicit attestation letter, stating its inclusion of downlink CA. What the G4 filing does not divulge is specifically 2x or 3x downlink CA support in band 41. For various reasons, S4GRU believes the former, that the G4 is capable of band 41 2x CA.


First, the Snapdragon X10 LTE baseband natively supports up to 60 MHz of 3x downlink CA. However, that requires some help. An RF transceiver sits ahead of the baseband, and presently, the Qualcomm WTR3925 can handle 2x CA -- but 3x CA necessitates the inclusion of a second transceiver. See this excerpt from an AnandTech article on the new Snapdragon chipsets:


Enabling 3x LTE CA requires two RF transceiver front ends: Qualcomm's WTR3925 and WTR3905. The WTR3925 is a single chip, 2x CA RF transceiver and you need the WTR3905 to add support for combining another carrier.


Moreover, the other G4 variants that support CA are explicitly limited to 2x CA, suggesting that all variants are using the single WTR3925 transceiver. This is all educated conjecture, barring a teardown of the Sprint variant that probably will never happen. But if you are waiting on 3x CA, that likely will require a next generation Qualcomm transceiver to do 3x CA all in one.


Finally, straight from the horse's mouth, Sprint CTO Stephen Bye stated the following in a recent FierceWireless article:


Bye said that in the fourth quarter of 2014 Sprint started seeding its device base with phones that can take advantage of 2x20 carrier aggregation in the 2.5 GHz band, and now has seven such models in the market, though he declined to say how many actual devices that translates into or what percentage of the subscriber base has a device capable of using the technology. Some of the models include the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge and HTC One M9, he said.


Now, honestly, most read our FCC OET authorization articles for ERP/EIRP figures and analysis. So, without further ado, here are the numbers:

  • Band class 0: 22 dBm
  • Band class 1: 26 dBm
  • Band class 10: 23 dBm
  • Band 2: 25 dBm
  • Band 4: 24 dBm
  • Band 5: 22 dBm
  • Band 12: 17 dBm
  • Band 25: 25 dBm
  • Band 26: 22 dBm
  • Band 41: 23 dBm

For reference, the above figures represent our best averaged and rounded estimates of max uplink ERP/EIRP -- with uniquely Sprint frequencies receiving heavier weighting, if possible, in band class 10, band 25, and band 26. Of course, the usual disclaimers about lab testing versus real world performance apply.


As for analysis, max RF output looks quite healthy across the board, comparing very favorably with that of the One M9 and soundly thrashing that of the disappointing Galaxy S6. In particular, the power output for CDMA2000 band classes is a good 3 dB higher than most.


Note, if you are using the smart cover for wireless charging, though, ERP/EIRP is affected roughly -1 dB across the board. I am not a fan of wireless charging because of the power inefficiency involved, but the RF loss from the smart cover on the G4 appears considerably less than what we have seen from some previous handsets.


If there is any caveat about the G4's RF capabilities, that would be its antenna gain, broken down by frequency range as follows:

  • 700 MHz: -5.9 dBi
  • 800 MHz: -7.1 dBi
  • 1700 MHz: -5.2 dBi
  • 1900 MHz: -3.5 dBi
  • 2600 MHz: 1.7 dBi

Except for 2600 MHz, all are negative, significantly negative. And for comparison, again except for 2600 MHz, the VZW variant antenna gain in all bands tracks about 3 dB higher. The head scratcher, however, is that the lab performance between the two variants is remarkably similar, despite the differences in antenna gain.


We have seen something like this before -- an LG handset that showed strong lab power output yet weak real world performance. Remember the LG Viper? That is the challenge in interpreting lab results. Low output always indicates weak performance. However, high output can be a mixed bag. But LG has a pretty good Sprint track record since the Viper, as the LG Optimus G, LG G2, and LG G3 were all at least average to good in the real world. And the LG manufactured Nexus 5 was practically a Jedi knight for its RF performance at the time.


In the end, only many trials on Dagobah will tell if the G4 lives up to its powerful promise. Use the 4th, LG, use the 4th.


Source: FCC, AnandTech, FierceWireless



by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Thursday, March 12, 2015 - 11:40 AM MDT


Back in December, S4GRU brought to you news that Sprint was opening up their network for Apple iPhone devices from other networks to be brought in and used on theirs. BYOD - Bring Your Own Device. Or, as Sprint is calling it, BYOAD...Bring Your Own Apple Device. However, just before it could go into effect, Sprint pulled the program and the plan was put on hold. Well, it's back!


BYOAD lauches tomorrow, March 13th. Sprint is opening this up to unlocked models of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini Retina and iPad Mini 3. The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c Verizon models are also eligible. The iPhone 5s/5c AT&T and Tmo model have CDMA disabled and thus are not eligible. BYOAD can be used with any Sprint rate plan, except for the Cut Your Rate in Half. Some special terms and conditions apply. The graphic below explains them.


When we reported last December, it did not include any iPhone 5s or 5c models. The addition of the Verizon models is new to the plan. We assume it will be allowed for existing account holders as well as those opening new accounts, as there is no mention of that limitation. However, the biggest limitation will be Sprint Spark compatibility, as Apple devices for other providers tend to not support LTE Band 41.


Sprint has been at a disadvantage in not allowing unlocked compatible devices on their network. AT&T and T-Mobile both allow customers to bring in a device from other providers if they are compatible and unlocked. Although most devices from Sprint's competitors are not compatible with the Sprint network, there are some notable exceptions.


Now we just look forward to the time when most devices can be brought into the Sprint network.



by Andrew J. Shepherd

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 12:15 PM MST


I got my first real smartphone.

Bought it at the five and dime.

Browsed S4GRU 'til my fingers bled.

Was the summer of 6&9.


Spring has not quite yet sprung for a few more weeks. But with the annual Mobile World Congress just wrapping up today in Barcelona, new smartphones that likely will dominate the mobile landscape through most of the summer are starting to sprout. Germinating at the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) over the past few days have been authorization filings for the Sprint variants of the Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, and HTC One M9. Get ready for the summer of 6&9.


S4GRU started a tradition of FCC OET authorization articles right around this time in 2012 with the debut of Sprint's first LTE devices. So, to celebrate the third birthday in our long running series, let us take a look at the cellular RF capabilities of this latest threesome of Samsung Galaxy and HTC One handsets.


To begin, all three devices follow what has been for the past 18 months the standard Sprint variant configuration: tri band LTE, non SVLTE, single RF path with e/CSFB. No surprises there. On top of Sprint tri band LTE, the three handsets also cover the CCA/RRPP LTE bands -- with one possible caveat for the One M9. More details on that later.


As an aside, Qualcomm is changing up its baseband modem branding and numbering schemes. Previously, branding was Gobi and numbering was, to use one example, MDM9625 for standalone modem chipsets. Then, many Snapdragon processor chipsets also included the same modems on die -- a la the Snapdragon 800, aka MSM8974, which integrated the same stack as in the standalone MDM9625. Branding is now changing universally to Snapdragon and numbering, to use just one example again, will follow the X10 LTE pattern. That last example is the Snapdragon 810's brand new LTE category 9 modem, which has no standalone modem precursor. But other rebranded and renumbered examples with their standalone precursors include the Snapdragon X5 LTE (MDM9625), Snapdragon X7 LTE (MDM9635), and Snapdragon X12 LTE (MDM9645).


That Qualcomm background is useful as we will start the rundown with the One M9, which incorporates the Snapdragon 810 with X10 LTE chipset. To cut straight to the chase, below are the tested ERP/EIRP figures:

  • Band class 0: 20 dBm
  • Band class 1: 25 dBm
  • Band class 10: 20 dBm
  • Band 2: 25 dBm
  • Band 4: 23 dBm
  • Band 12: 18 dBm
  • Band 25: 25 dBm
  • Band 26: 17 dBm
  • Band 41: 23 dBm

For reference, and this will pertain to the ERP/EIRP figures cited later for the Samsung devices, too, the above figures represent our best averaged and rounded estimates of max uplink ERP/EIRP -- with uniquely Sprint frequencies receiving heavier weighting in band class 10, band 25, and band 26. Of course, the usual disclaimers about lab testing versus real world performance apply.


Now, to provide some analysis, RF output looks relatively healthy, somewhere in the better than average range. And it generally, albeit minimally trumps that of its HTC One M8 predecessor -- see our S4GRU article from last year.


The aforementioned caveat about CCA/RRPP bands is that the FCC OET filing for the One M9 does not include separate testing of band 5. Now, that may not indicate omission of band 5 -- because band 26 is a superset of all band 5 frequencies. But we cannot guarantee that the One M9 will attach to band 5 roaming networks without MFBI for band 26.


Two other omissions are worthy of note. First, the FCC OET documents offer no mention of band 41 carrier aggregation capabilities. This may or may not be cause for concern. Current carrier aggregation is downlink reception only, not uplink transmission. And FCC OET testing is just the opposite -- uplink transmission only, not downlink reception. As such, the testing is not required to include carrier aggregation. We do know that the Snapdragon 810 with X10 LTE supports up to 3x 20 MHz FDD/TDD carrier aggregation, so we expect that 2x or 3x band 41 carrier aggregation is on board. S4GRU will follow up if more info becomes available.


Second, the One M9 was not tested, thus is not authorized for domestic GSM/W-CDMA bands. Rabid phone unlockers under the new Sprint domestic unlocking policy, consider yourselves forewarned.


Finally, the One M9 docs suggest VoLTE support at launch. But Sprint has no established timeline for VoLTE, so take that with a grain of salt. It could be just a latent capability.


Moving on to the galactic federation, Samsung has split its Galaxy S6 offerings in two this year, offering a separate Galaxy S6 Edge as a step up version. With one possible exception, both Galaxy S6 handsets have the same RF capabilities. However, their ERP/EIRP figures are not identical, so they are broken out separately below:


Samsung Galaxy S6:

  • Band class 0: 17 dBm
  • Band class 1: 23 dBm
  • Band class 10: 17 dBm
  • Band 2: 22 dBm
  • Band 4: 23 dBm
  • Band 5: 16 dBm
  • Band 12: 21-17 dBm (declining with increasing carrier bandwidth)
  • Band 25: 22 dBm
  • Band 26: 16 dBm
  • Band 41: 16 dBm

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge:

  • Band class 0: 18 dBm
  • Band class 1: 22 dBm
  • Band class 10: 18 dBm
  • Band 2: 22 dBm
  • Band 4: 24 dBm
  • Band 5: 17 dBm
  • Band 12: 17 dBm
  • Band 25: 22 dBm
  • Band 26: 17 dBm
  • Band 41: 19-11 dBm (declining with decreasing center frequency)

As for analysis, both Galaxy S6 variants are about average -- with the Galaxy S6 Edge holding generally a 1 dB "edge," pun intended. Neither, though, holds up to the tested RF output of the One M9. Some surmise that Samsung's much debated shift in handset materials this year from largely cheap feeling plastic to more premium metal and glass has had a detrimental effect on RF design and performance. We cannot jump to that conclusion, but the RF falloff does become even more apparent in comparison to last year's Samsung Galaxy S5 -- again, see our article.


In particular, band 41 EIRP is disappointing. A higher frequency band should precipitate higher RF output. But that is not the case this year, as the band 41 uplink maximum for both Samsung handsets drops 4-7 dB below that of the One M9 and fully 6-9 dB below that of the Galaxy S5.


Also, the band 41 extreme frequency differential in the Galaxy S6 Edge is disconcerting. It is up to 8 dB better in high BRS spectrum than in low EBS spectrum. Meanwhile, multiple band 41 center frequencies in BRS/EBS spectrum will vary from market to market, so performance will also vary. If using the Galaxy S6 Edge on band 41, you better hope for EARFCN 40978 or greater.


Alright, that less than good news out of the way, let us move on to more positive things. The Samsung Galaxy S6 handsets are LTE category 6 -- with explicitly noted support for 2x band 41 carrier aggregation. More on that, too, later. They also have been tested and authorized for domestic GSM/W-CDMA bands, so unlocking in the future for use on other domestic operators may be possible. VoLTE, though, is noted as not supported out of the box. It is, however, on board other Galaxy S6 variants, thus could be added later with a Class II Permissive Change filing and potentially a software update.


Now, back to LTE category 6. In addition to its material design change this year, Samsung has also broken lockstep with Qualcomm, choosing to forgo the 64 bit, octa core Snapdragon 810 processor in favor of its in house 64 bit, octa core Exynos 7420. S4GRU does not traffic in application processor chipset holy wars -- there are plenty of other sites for that. But this chipset change has other ramifications. Unlike the Snapdragon 810, the Exynos does not have a baseband modem on die. Thus, Samsung has had to include a separate modem chipset. And, unfortunately, the full identity of that modem remains a mystery. We know of another Samsung in house chipset -- the Exynos Modem 333 or SS333 -- that could provide the category 6 LTE connectivity, possibly even full 3GPP connectivity.


However, for Sprint, that still leaves lingering 3GPP2 (CDMA2000). Is it provided by a second modem, meaning a third chipset? Could it be a reappearance of the notorious VIA Telecom CDMA2000 modem? S4GRU sincerely hopes not. Or maybe Qualcomm is still on board, not in the processor, but in its aforementioned Snapdragon X7 LTE (MDM9635) category 6 LTE standalone 3GPP/3GPP2 baseband, which supports the same 2x 20 MHz FDD/TDD carrier aggregation. Time will tell.


Well, that is a wrap for this set. If you are young and restless with the Samsung Galaxy S6s and HTC One M9, will you wonder what went wrong? Or will the summer of 6&9 be the best days of your mobile life?


Discuss in the comments.



Sources: FCC, Bryan Adams


by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 2:45 PM MST


Sprint is embarking on a significant expansion of its network. The first major addition of compatible sites to its network in a decade. Past expansion has been limited to buyouts of Nextel and Clearwire, both of which included networks of different technologies. Organic growth has not been on the table for Sprint in some time. Sprint is expected to announce these plans in the not too distant future, once finalization of details and funding is complete.


Since the beginning of the year, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure has hinted to this network expansion in social media and in pep talks to various Sprint employees. Some of whom have contacted S4GRU after hearing Marcelo’s vague references in meetings about the upcoming expansion. But this is the first time we have received specific information from inside Sprint.


The purpose of these 9,000 new sites is to expand coverage into new markets, add critical rural coverage where high roaming occurs, capture lost coverage from the shutdown of the old Nextel iDEN network, extend coverage to new suburban areas, and densify the network within existing coverage.


This plan is very targeted by market and includes a significant capital spend investment. The affected areas are seen as critical to Sprint for future growth and reduction of operating expenses in key roaming areas.


With the useable area of Sprint’s low frequency spectrum in the SMR 800 band about to expand even to the border areas, thus allowing nationwide coverage, the buildout of new markets and new rural areas has never been more practical or obtainable to Sprint. Allowing for new areas to have a less tight buildout requirement in site density in small towns and along highways and increase signal strength indoors in cities. The new management of Sprint sees this as the point at which they can move forward and accomplish these once seemingly lofty goals.


The juicy details


S4GRU recently received some details of the project from an internal Sprint source, speaking off the record. The current details of the plan breakdown as follows:

  • 1,100 - Decommissioned iDEN sites converted for new Sprint CDMA/LTE coverage and increased density in some key under served areas (Dualband and Triband)
  • 1,600 – New coverage expansion sites targeting high roaming areas and key identified market expansion areas (Dualband and Triband)
  • 800 – New Dualband sites in exurban and new suburban areas places with new or projected population growth
  • 500 – New Triband sites in Urban and Suburban areas to infill coverage where 1900 and 2600 currently do not reach or reach well and 800 capacity would also be improved
  • 5,000 – New Urban and Suburban TDD-LTE 2600 “Spark” only sites infilling existing coverages for better signal quality, indoor performance, and capacity. It is not known the mix of macro sites and small cell sites.

One exciting part of this addition to S4GRU is capturing decommissioned iDEN sites. This is something that we have long advocated. In a takeoff I did of the iDEN sites back in 2012, I estimated that Sprint needed only approximately 1,000 of the iDEN sites to equalize coverage for the CDMA/LTE network and densify some critical areas of some lacking markets. Like Baton Rouge and Grand Rapids. Perhaps decision makers at Sprint read S4GRU after all? I am happy to see my estimate was quite close to theirs.


Interestingly, there is no mention of Clearwire only sites that are in good locations for Sprint to expand or densify Network Vision CDMA and LTE. Not to mention also the 700+ Clearwire Protection Sites. Many of which are in places Sprint does not currently offer service. Like my corner of the Dakotas.


Project Ocean


In addition to this new Expansion Project, Sprint also already has two existing projects under way for targeted regional expansion based on recent acquisition. In Missouri and Central Illinois, Sprint is working on Project Ocean, which involves adding more than 100 former U.S. Cellular sites. Some of these sites are already online with many more coming online within the next 6-8 months.


The bulk of these adds are in Suburban St. Louis. However, there are a couple dozen rural USCC sites that are also being captured in the Project Ocean program. Sites where demographics are supportive to expansion or high roaming costs make the additional sites worthwhile.


Project Cedar


A thousand miles to the northwest, Sprint is embarking on Project Cedar in Montana. A plan to add 230 sites to the Sprint network in the Treasure State. Sprint purchased the defunct network assets from Chinook Wireless back in August of 2014. Chinook Wireless operated their service under the Cellular One name in Montana. Project Cedar takes the Chinook Wireless decommissioned sites and adds Network Vision DualBand and TriBand sites in their place.


We assume Project Cedar is being done by Samsung, as past geographic maps from Sprint show this area to be Samsung. There was a Field Implementation Test (FIT) for LTE Band 26 (SMR 800MHz) done by Samsung in Montana back in 2013. We never did find out where in Montana this FIT was conducted, and it may even be live for commercial traffic now. S4GRU members travelling in Montana, be on the look out for B26 LTE signals and new Samsung equipment being installed.


In my cursory review, it appears that the footprint offered by Chinook would have been served by 120-140 sites at best using PCS 1900 spacing. Since Sprint is looking to do 90-110 more than that, it’s possible Sprint could be extending service well into the Dakotas and Wyoming under this project. Beyond the reach of the old Cellular One coverage area.


I could see them covering all the Chinook coverage plus I-25, I-90, I-94 in Wyoming and the Dakotas as well as Casper, Gillette, Rapid City, Pierre, Williston and Bismarck with 230 sites. Heck, convert Swiftel’s 50 sites in Eastern South Dakota while you’re at it! Swiftel is a sore subject with us, and we will save that for another day.


Funding and implementation


According to the source, Project Ocean and Project Cedar are already funded. The additional 8,000 site expansion with unknown project name has funding earmarked for its planning and initial start. However funding sources and final scope are being worked out. It is likely Sprint will make no comment on the matter until these last two items are resolved probably next quarter.


However, Sprint is already moving on initial planning and key sites as they come available. No good opportunity will be lost during the planning process. And maybe there are some more regional plans in play?





UPDATE, Thursday, March 12, 2015 11:40 AM MDT: BYOAD is back. Follow this link for new article: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/blog/1/entry-384-take-two-sprint-offers-byod-for-apple-devices/


UPDATE, Saturday, December 20, 2014 12:15 PM MST:

I have received a message that Sprint is postponing this until further notice. Hopefully it will be instituted soon.



by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Friday, December 19, 2014 - 4:40 PM MST


As most of you are aware, Sprint does not allow devices from other providers on their network. If you want to become a Sprint customer and bring a device with you, the answer has pretty much been no, with only a handful of limited exceptions. No matter how compatible the existing device is with the Sprint network. You had to buy a phone from Sprint or bring a Sprint activated phone with you. Well now there is a big change coming.


Sprint is about to open up their network to other Apple devices not purchased directly from Sprint. This marks a significant change in course for Sprint. Initially it will only be for a few Apple devices that were purchased from Apple or Best Buy. But based on the content of a Sprint memo to retailers posted below, Sprint is open to the idea of expanding the list of Apple devices in the future, as well as Apple devices purchased from other sources. Maybe even unlocked from other providers down the road.


Although we are not certain of the timelines involved, we are told this is starting immediately. Not sure if that means tomorrow or next week. But it is happening. It is currently limited to just the iPhone 6, iPhone 6+, iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 only. We assume it will be allowed for existing account holders as well as those opening new accounts, as there is no mention of that limitation. However, the biggest limitation will be Sprint Spark compatibility, as Apple devices for other providers tend to not support LTE Band 41. Also, not all Sprint plans will allow "BYOAD" and we currently do not know which plans are blacklisted.


Sprint has been at a disadvantage in not allowing unlocked compatible devices on their network. AT&T and T-Mobile both allow customers to bring in a device from other providers if they are compatible and unlocked. Although most devices from Sprint's competitors are not compatible with the Sprint network, there are some notable exceptions.


Although this will create some headaches for Sprint in managing these devices, we hope this is a new era toward an open device ecosystem. And in this case, to block possible customers from buying your service just didn't make much sense. Thank you Marcelo. We like the changes. And can we interest you in some more from our Laundry List?



Bring Your Own Apple Device (BYOAD) to Sprint is Now a Reality




Consumer (IL) and Business (CL) postpaid customers from Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile can now bring some of their unlocked Apple devices to Sprint as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and activate them on our network. SKUs will be added for eligible BYOD Apple devices in our systems.


Eligible Devices…


Note the following device requirements

  • Models include: iPhone 6, 6+, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 only. Other device models may be available in future phases. i.e. iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s
  • Device must have been purchased via an Apple fulfillment channel (Apple store, apple.com or Best Buy). Devices purchased from other outlets may be available in future phases.

SIM Cards…


Customers will need to have a compatible Sprint SIM card (UICC) for the selected device.


Use the Compatibility Matrix tool to see the compatible Sprint UICC cards for the customer's device. If the SIM is compatible, the customer must order or provide a compatible UICC card. If the SIM is not compatible, ask the customer to visit a Sprint Retail store to obtain UICC card and account setup.


More Details


These BYOD Apple devices have specific Device Based User Rules (DBUR). Not all current price plans will be eligible to be used on BYOD Apple devices. Some Apple devices have other limitations like they may not support the Sprint Spark network.




by Andrew J. Shepherd

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Friday, November 14, 2014 - 7:46 AM MST


'Tis the season for turkey and tablets, pumpkin pie and "phablets." So, whet your appetites, and get ready for a movable feast -- or should I say, a mobile feast.


Welcome to the first annual S4GRU holiday shopping guide. This may be nothing more than a one year tradition. We shall see. But we have definitely fallen behind this fall on publishing articles following FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorizations of notable devices headed to or at least compatible with the Sprint network.


Playing catch up, here is a quick rundown on the RF capabilities of the Motorola Nexus 6, Samsung Galaxy Edge, and cellular variant HTC Nexus 9 -- all of which have passed through the FCC OET and been released in the past few weeks or are to be released in the next few weeks.


Not the purview of S4GRU, but all of the processor, RAM, screen resolution, and other specs are already out there on the Interwebs. If you need that info, refer to those sources. Thus, these brief looks at two "phablets" and one cellular tablet will be focused on their tested/projected RF performance -- particularly as that pertains to the Sprint network.


To begin, the Motorola Nexus 6 ends up being the first fully CCA/RRPP compliant LTE handset -- supporting domestic LTE bands 2/4/5/12/25/26/41 -- and, for good measure, adding in LTE bands 7/13/17 for use in Canada, on VZW, and on AT&T. S4GRU first reported that CCA/RRPP band abundance of the supposed Sprint variant 2014 Motorola X a few months ago, but for unknown reasons, that handset never saw the light of day after it passed through the FCC OET. Its Motorola brother, which suffers from the hormonal disorder gigantism, though, picks up that slack and then some.


Yes, the Nexus 6 represents a gigantic increase in size and price -- a curious decision if there ever was one. But it does appear to hold up its very large end of the bargain in RF prowess, maxing out in the roughly the 20-26 dBm range across all supported LTE bands. That is pretty good performance, particularly for band 41, which appears to enjoy an approximately 3 dBi antenna gain. This projects to be the strong performer that many had hoped for based on Motorola's RF reputation.


Next up, the Samsung Galaxy Edge is truly on the cutting edge. And that refers not to just its curvy edged screen form factor. It is the first North American handset to support band 41 carrier aggregation. See the FCC OET filing table below:




In fact, it is the first North American handset known to support LTE TDD carrier aggregation and intra band LTE carrier aggregation -- rather than inter band carrier aggregation, as we have seen in several AT&T variant handsets this year. That said, it is limited to two carrier aggregation with a maximum total bandwidth of 40 MHz TDD. Three carrier aggregation devices with a maximum total bandwidth of 60 MHz TDD will not make an appearance until sometime next year.


And that is basically the good news. The rest of the news is not as good. The Galaxy Edge supports none of the additional CCA/RRPP bands -- not even bands 2/5, which are just subsets of bands 25/26, respectively. Moreover, the LTE ERP/EIRP is not very impressive. Fortunately, it looks hardly as poor in that regard as last year's VZW variant Galaxy Note 3 -- maybe the worst that we have ever seen in a flagship caliber smartphone -- but it averages just 17-20 dBm max output across bands 25/26/41. And, for reference, that runs about 2-3 dB worse than that of its recent Sprint variant Galaxy Note 4 sibling.


The news could be worse, however. To conclude, just look at the cellular variant HTC Nexus 9 tablet. On the bright side, it, too, is a fully CCA/RRPP compliant device -- bands 2/4/5/12/25/26/41 -- also adding bands 7/13/17 like its Nexus 6 cousin. That band 12 tablet inclusion trumps even all Apple iPads for likely the next year. But the bright side does not extend beyond that in terms of actual RF.


Originally, Google proclaimed the Nexus 9 to be a 3GPP/3GPP2 device. Since then, Google has pared that back to a 3GPP only device -- with the odd inclusion of EV-DO. The latter is almost assuredly yet another proofreading error, as the FCC OET authorization docs show no support for 3GPP2. Furthermore, reports are that the Nexus 9 uses a non Qualcomm baseband modem. Not good -- especially for a device that now rivals the iPad in price.


For those who want the shorthand explanation, the cellular variant Nexus 9 looks to be compatible with Sprint -- but only Sprint LTE. It will have no support for Sprint CDMA2000. Additionally, the ERP/EIRP leaves much, much to be desired, averaging only 15-19 dBm maximum across all LTE bands. We generally expect more from antenna design in tablets because of their added size. However, that is certainly not the case with the Nexus 9.


In summation, if you are making your shopping list, checking it twice, everything new in the Sprint stocking this holiday season is at least partly naughty, nothing entirely nice. Too big, too expensive, too focused on form over function, and/or too weak RF. Take your pick.


Happy Thanksgiving? Or Bah Humbug?


Source: FCC


by Kristofer Maki

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - 11:00 AM MDT


With great patience comes great reward. And with all the waiting that Sprint customers in South Florida have been doing lately, many are wishing it will pay off in spades, and soon. Indeed, I am referring to the 800MHz spectrum embargo that is still occurring in South Florida today.


If you aren’t aware of the background of the issue, fret not, I will cover the background in detail so you are aware of what it entails. By the end of this article, my goal is to hope you understand a bit more about the current impasse with the ability to release B26 LTE (LTE 800) in South Florida, as well as give you an idea on when the blockade will eventually be lifted.




It all started back in 2004, when the FCC adopted a resolution to completely reorganize the 800MHz SMR band. The FCC was quoted in saying that the plan was to, “Migrate Incompatible Technologies to separate segments of the band.” [1] The purpose of the reorganization was to alleviate interference with public safety agencies within the Sprint-Nextel coverage areas. The final plan ended up placing the public safety agencies within the 806-815/851-860MHz range and Sprint Nextel within the 817-824/862-869 MHz range. In between the ranges is an Expansion Band of 1MHz (for future use of Public Safety Agencies as need grows) and a Guard Band of 1MHz (To place a buffer in between two-way/trunked and cellular frequencies). For a visual of the band see the image below.


gallery_1_2_62377.png [1]



The original plan also provided a three year time frame for the changes to take effect. The plan was slated to start on June 27, 2005 and finish by June 26, 2008. Sprint was also obligated to pay for any reasonable costs associated with the transition of any license holder within the 800MHz band that was relocating to a new frequency. Finally the plan provided the creation of an independent agency to oversee all financial and technical specifics of the transition between the licensees, Sprint, and the FCC. This agency is called the 800MHz Transition Administrator.


But wait, it’s October 2014! Wasn’t this all supposed to be completed by the end of June 2008? What gives?


FCC Extends Rebanding beyond initial 3 years


The short and sweet answer to that question is the FCC realized that the initial time frame wasn’t long enough to deploy the complicated communications systems, so the FCC ordered a process for filing waivers (Extensions to exceed the initial deadline).


I requested comment from Miami-Dade County on the issue and they stated, “The first waiver extension was ordered by the FCC across all agencies in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico since it became obvious that the deadline was not realistic.”


Many agencies have applied to extend their deadlines, so many in fact that the Transition Administrator had set up a section of their web site dedicated to waiver requests. Some of the reasons that deadlines were extended were due to issues with obtaining costs estimates, finding compatible hardware, and even some agencies just not sure with what hardware they were wanting to transition to.


The additional delays with Miami-Dade County


Now let’s consider the issue in particular of Miami-Dade County and all of South Florida. I was interested in their side of the story. I wanted to know more about what issues may have risen from the deployment process, and if there were any other issues initially foreseen that would cause a delay with the deployment to the new communications systems. So I took to my email. I sent requests out for comment from both sides of the spectrum. I contacted Sprint and Miami-Dade County on the issues and received quite the plethora of information.


In an email interview, I asked Miami-Dade County for comment on the issues that have implicated the deployments of their transitioning to the new 800MHz frequencies.


“Miami Dade County has the largest and busiest public safety radio system in the entire State of Florida.  With more than 90 million transmissions a year being generated by over 30,000 subscriber radios and with over 100 local, state, and federal agencies operating on the network, the planning and deployment process to install equipment at 11 radio sites and physically touch 30,000 subscriber radios with their own independent radio personalities, is critical and complex in nature.” States Rey Valdez, Major with the Communications Bureau of Miami Dade Police Department.


He continues to comment, “The first of two large 800 MHz systems was deployed within schedule and budget December, 2012.  The second large system services law enforcement primarily was scheduled to be deployed by April 2014. The County encountered issues with the factory code of the radios and dispatch consoles that required to have more than 16,000 radios on the law enforcement system retouched.  As a result, the logistical process to coordinate with thousands of radio users had to be repeated for the entire base and in some cases, small pockets of radio users had to be retouched a third time.”


In the most recent waiver request, Miami-Dade County requested until January 21, 2015 to complete the migration to the new frequencies. Sprint “Partially” opposed the extension, stating that the licensee has had since 2005 to complete its requirements. They requested that Miami-Dade relinquish all of the frequencies by October 2014. The FCC held in abeyance the request, pending additional information from Miami-Dade County. There was no other data provided on the FCC’s website stating what information was found, or if the waiver date was even granted. After doing some more searching around, I found on the Transition Administrators site that Miami-Dade County was granted the waiver date of January 21, 2015.


I asked if they had any pending issues that would withhold the agency being able to meet the deadline and Major Rey Valdez stated, “Miami-Dade County has successfully migrated 40% of all the users in the law enforcement system as of September 30, 2014 with the rest of the users migrating over incrementally before January 21, 2015.” He continued to explain that, “Barring a natural disaster such as the landfall of a major hurricane, we do not foresee any other issue that would prevent us from meeting out commitment with the waiver request for January 21, 2015.”


This is great news that hopefully we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! When asking Sprint for comment, they declined until an official news release was given on the issue. No date or timeframe was given.


So here’s to hoping that South Florida has another quiet year for tropical weather activity so Miami-Dade may peacefully and prudently finish their radio re-banding. Considering the size and scope of the project, it is more than understandable that having to touch over 30,000 subscriber units can take time and burn through resources.


Just a few more months, with an eye to the sky


We are hoping that we should be able to see B26 LTE (800MHz LTE) sometime around the beginning of next year here around South Florida. It does, in fact, affect a large area of South Florida, from the Florida Keys, all the way up to about 30 Miles north of Okeechobee, FL. Covering about an 80 mile radius around the perimeter of Miami-Dade County. It’s easy to guess which areas are affected by the, “Frequency Embargo” by checking out the B26 Sites Accepted Map & Discussion in the S4GRU Premier Sponsors Thread.


You can read more about the 800Mhz Transition by visiting http://www.800ta.org. Special thanks to the Miami-Dade Police Department-Communications Division for their comments on the issue.




by Cedric Owens

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Friday, October 3, 2014 - 2:30 PM MDT


A year ago, S4GRU brought you a great breakdown article titled after the Three Dog Night hit - "One is the loneliest number". Unfortunately, this great article brought news that none of us Sprint Samsung phablet owners wanted to hear. One band of LTE. "No Tri-band For You!"


Well, Samsung and Sprint officially announced on September 3, 2014 that the wait for the "King of Phablets" having Sprint Spark was finally over. Okay, maybe not over, but a little over a month away.


So with the announcement from Apple September 9th, 2014, that they are getting into the phablet market with the iPhone 6 Plus and with the rumored announcement from Google and Motorola about a 5.92" beast of their own on the horizon, does the Sprint variant of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 have enough to remain on top of the throne?


Let's take a look at what was found over at the good ol' FCC Office of Engineering & Technology for FCC ID: A3LSMN910P.


Three Bands Short of Being One of Your Favorite CCA/RRPP Rock Concerts


If you were hoping for band 4 LTE 1700+2100, band 12 LTE 700 and band 17 LTE 700, you're going to have to find a new rock tour to follow for a fully compliant Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) and Rural Roaming Preferred Program (RRPP) device.


Sprint announced March 26, 2014, that they were moving to include CCA band support on devices by end of the year, but the Note 4 missed the mark this time around. One would have thought that that would have included the Note 4, but just as last year when Sprint made the announcement about Sprint Spark in every device going forward and Samsung went rogue, it appears they are deciding to do the same this year with bands 4, 12 and 17.


Without these additional LTE bands, Note 4 Sprint customers may be limited in the amount of pseudo native coverage gained when Sprint's CCA LTE roaming starts to go live, in the places where bands 25/26/41 are not present. So the "King of Phablets" will once again be missing out on something that "America's Newest Network" is offering. This Note 4 is capable of using LTE deployed on Band 2 and 5 though, if some of these members are using that spectrum. So the news is not the best for Sprint LTE roaming with CCA partners, but it is "Note"worthy that it will still be able to pick up bands 25/26/41 that their RRPP partners are overlaying on their own networks.


Back in July, S4GRU's own Robert went into more detail of the CCA/RRPP Partnerships


ERP/EIRP numbers to help anticipate RF performance


Below find the maximum ERP/EIRP Numbers for the LTE Bands relevant to the Sprint variant:


Band 25

  • 5 MHz FDD channels: max EIRP 22.45dBm
  • 20 MHz FDD channels: max EIRP 22.75dBm
  • 15 MHz FDD channels: max EIRP 22.78dBm
  • 10 MHz FDD channels: max EIRP 22.58dBm
  • 3 MHZ FDD channels: max EIRP 22.09dBm
  • 1.4 MHZ FDD channels: max EIRP 21.27dBm

Band 26

  • 5 MHz FDD channels: max ERP 18.89dBm
  • 10 MHz FDD channels: max ERP 18.92dBm
  • 3 MHz FDD channels: max ERP 18.96dBm
  • 1.4 MHz FDD channels: max ERP 18.54dBm

Band 41 (Spark)

  • 20 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 22.44dBm
  • 15 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 22.84dBm
  • 10 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 22.52dBm
  • 5 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 22.69dBm

NOTE: This is using the better antenna, on the best channel in the band, and with robust QPSK modulation. Although Sprint currently does not use B25 1.4MHz, 3MHz, 10MHz, 15MHz or 20MHz channels, nor B26 1.4MHz, 3MHz or 10MHz channels, nor B41 5, 10 or 15MHz channels, they were included for interest as it is plausible that Sprint could use these in the future at some point.


Simultaneous Voice/Data, VoLTE, Domestic WiFi Calling and Carrier Aggregation


No... (Enough said)






The Wrap-up


After deciphering through all the FCC data, the released specifications and considering the phablet options out there... So what's my take? I give it a "Kanye Shrug". The EIRP results indicate that Band 25 and Band 41 are what's to be expected, and Band 26 is surprising less robust. One caveat though is that the Band 25 EIRP numbers are similar to the Note II, so we'll have to wait for real world results before making the final verdict on RF performance.


The Note series may no longer be the beast of a device it used to be. Apple has released a very competitive device in this category. Google/Motorola are supposedly releasing a 5.92" Nexus phablet and who are you trying to fool LG, HTC and Samsung with these flagship device screen sizes you all have been releasing lately?


At one point the Note series offered something you couldn't get on other devices, including Samsung, but it's now clear that Samsung intends to release its flagship device every Spring and if you want it in a bigger size, you'll have to wait until the Fall.


So, here's to another year of waiting for the "latest and greatest" Samsung Galaxy Note to catch up to the latest and greatest network from Sprint. *Cough* Carrier Aggregation *Cough*


Thanks everyone for reading my 1st Wall article. Hope you enjoyed it. :tu:


Additional Specs


Model: SM-N910P

  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 APQ8084
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Rear Facing Camera: 16-megapixel with Optical Image Stabilization (Take that iPhone 6 Plus)
  • Front Facing Camera: 3.7-megapixel (Selfie Heaven)



  • Android 4.4 (Kit Kat)
  • 3220 mAh Lithium Ion Battery
  • Talk time: Up to 35 hours
  • Dimensions: 6.0" x 3.1” x 0.3"
  • Display: 5.7” Quad HD Super AMOLED (2560 X 1440)
  • Weight: 6.2 oz
  • 2.7 GHz Quad-core processor – Qualcomm Snapdagon
  • 32GB internal memory(ROM)/3GB (RAM) /supports up to 128GB Micro SD (sold separately)
  • Bluetooth profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, GAVDP, HFP 1.6, PBAP, HSP, HID, GOEP, SPP, MAP, PAN, OPP, DI, HOGP
  • HD Voice
  • International WiFi Calling
  • Sprint® Direct Connect® Now






by Seth Goodwin

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 11:20 AM MDT


Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure has only been on the job for 3-1/2 weeks, but dramatic changes have already been made. Claure took part in Goldman Sachs 23rd Annual Communacopia Conference this morning in New York City. During the course of an approximately 35 minute onstage interview, Claure’s strategy for Sprint going forward was publicized for the first time.


Claure started by noting the advice he received as a first time CEO of a publicly traded company was “don’t make any changes for the first 100 days.” He continued “I just couldn't help myself. On day 4 we changed everything we do from the time we go to market.” In his first meeting with Sprint’s vice presidents in Overland Park, Claure asked a simple question. Why would anyone buy a Sprint phone?


The question itself was somewhat rhetorical. As Claure noted to the audience “really there wasn't really any compelling value proposition [at Sprint]." He noted that Sprint was more expensive than some of their competitors while still “coming out of a pretty traumatic network experience.” As to Framily, Claure discussed that even he himself had a hard time understanding how the plan worked, and was less than thrilled that “We were marketing with a hamster talking to people."


The Way Forward


Insight into Claure’s strategy can be traced back to his time at Brightstar. Over a 15 year period, Marcelo transformed a company from selling cellphones out of the trunk of his car in Miami, to a full scale cellular logistics corporation with over $10 billion in revenue in 2013. This entrepreneurial spirit and underdog mentality is what he is seeking to replicate at Sprint.




In the wake of complicated plans and the success of family share plans at Verizon and AT&T, Claure identified this as Sprint’s first target. Within his first four days on the job, Sprint’s post-paid plan offerings were drastically overhauled. He emphasized Sprint’s commitment to match or beat AT&T and Verizon on price as well as surpassing them by doubling the data offered on comparable competitor’s plans. By the end of Week 1, a competitive individual plan was also released.


By essentially concentrating plan offerings to two simple to understand plans, Claure sees the ability to market and sell these plans to consumers being easier going forward. He told store employees forget about the rule book “just go out there and be an entrepreneur… It is incredible when you empower your employees and allow them to be entrepreneurs the type of things that start to happen.”




Claure is aware of the importance of the network. He specifically noted that he monitors network performance daily. Even with that, he is optimistic about where he's taking Sprint into the future. “The network is our product…We provide connectivity and the network needs to be good in order for customers to come.” He also was gracious towards what former CEO Dan Hesse had already accomplished on the network side before leaving. “He made a pretty bold move,” Claure said. “We basically went and did a whole rip and replace of our network.”


Marcelo noted that most of the network hardware replacement is done. Something the S4GRU sponsor site statistics bear out. Without providing details, Claure underscored something we have been hearing out of Sprint for the past several months...that the deployment of LTE Bands 25 and 26 are being accelerated with 255 million POP's now covered by Sprint LTE.


As we have discussed on this site numerous times, Spectrum is ultimately one of Sprint’s key differentiators. “We have over 160MHz in the 2.5 band. Our majority shareholders entire secret sauce in Japan was based on their 2.5 network.” Marcelo said 60 million POP's are currently covered by Band 41 LTE. These are former Clearwire WiMax sites that have been converted to Sprint’s Spark LTE. One of the more interesting aspects of this morning’s event was the change in Sprint’s 8T8R Band 41 deployment strategy.


Marcelo elaborated, “We are going to move to a smarter model in terms of how we deploy our equipment” going forward. He discussed that when he arrived, Sprint’s plan was simply to deploy new Band 41 8T8R equipment across their over 30,000 sites. Which is essentially all their existing full build Network Vision sites. The problem with this strategy according to Claure is that this “takes us too long to be good anywhere.” The new strategy has 2.5 LTE (Band 41) deployments being concentrated in areas where the existing network is overburdened.


In the second wave of the Band 41 8T8R deployment attack, Sprint will be “going strong after a few cities...focusing on a few critical markets and deploying an experience that hasn't been seen yet in the U.S.”


Shifting the focus to areas that need the extra capacity first is strategically important. If implemented properly, getting Band 41 LTE sites deployed across all markets where they are absolutely needed for extra capacity will help make the network more usable for end users. “There is no need for us to plaster the nation with 2.5, because it is going to take too long,” Claure said. “Rather we’d like to get some wins early on.”


The Near-Term Plan


To Claure, ultimately price and the network is Sprint’s winning value proposition. He noted in the wireless industry, you can either compete on price as T-Mobile has been aggressively doing as of late, or you can compete on the quality of your network as Verizon or AT&T does. That left Sprint in a precarious position, “we were the most expensive and our network is a work in progress.” Claure added, “You are going to see us now be the value driver… And potentially in the market for a really strong advertisement network.” Claure concluded, “If you can have price and the really strong network; you have a winning value proposition."


To compete on value in the near-term, expect Sprint to aggressively counteract competitor’s moves. Claure gave the example of T-Mobile announcing a guaranteed best price on a device buyback or trade-in. Later that afternoon Sprint countered, offering to do better than T-Mobile. Sprint was in part able to make this play due synergies with Claure’s former company Brightstar, now fully owned by Softbank.


Brightstar is the largest player in the phone trade-in market in the world. Claure noted synergies between Sprint and the over 1,000 companies Softbank owns or does business with are a competitive advantage. He noted that the value proposition is Sprint’s optimal strategy at this point and concluded by saying Sprint must be the ultimate disruptor in the industry.


You can say what you want about Sprint's past. But the future is changing. It's squarely in Marcelo's hands. And he's gaining momentum.


by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - 5:55 PM MDT


The news so many of our members have been eagerly awaiting...the announcement of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus occurred today. A LOT of information has been leaked out the previous weeks. More than I can ever remember from an Apple product. But some new information did come out today. And of most interest to our readers, is YES, Sprint Band 41 is supported. Welcome to Spark, our beloved iPhoniacs. Your wait for that is over.


Typically, FCC OET device articles are written by the S4GRU Technical Editor AJ Shepherd or his protege Josh McDaniel. But given tight publishing deadlines and even tighter work schedules, yours truly will take a stab at it. I pored through the Office of Engineering & Technology website to bring you these details.


A Band for everyone...well, almost


The number of LTE bands that all the new iPhone 6 variants support is staggering. Even supporting a few more than the Moto X+1 we told you about earlier today. The Sprint Model iPhone 6 (A1586) and iPhone 6 Plus (A1524) support 20 LTE bands! Including 4 TDD LTE bands, like Band 41. Sadly, all iPhone 6 variants do omit support for Band 12. So on Sprint that will limit some of the upcoming CCA rural LTE roaming (not to mention the sadness of Tmo subscribers for missing B12).


Sprint has announced that it is moving to have its devices support LTE roaming on its partner networks in the CCA and Sprint's RRPP program. The new iPhone 6s cover all these new partner bands, like B4, B5 and B17. Just missing B12. The Moto X+1 will be the first Sprint device to support B12 roaming. iPhone users will likely need to wait until next year's iPhone 6s refresh to get Band 12 access.


But the most exciting information is that the Sprint models of the new iPhone 6s both support Band 41. So now you data hungry iPhone users can start spreading your loads on the Spark network. Since the Spark network has a lot of capacity, and a lot of ability to add even more capacity (more than any other provider), the ability of iPhone users to use this band is extremely important. It may even start to alleviate some of the burden off Band 25, where many iPhone users now are stuck. But that may not be very likely as the uniband and dualband iPhones from previous years get traded in and handed down to offspring.


ERP/EIRP numbers to help anticipate RF performance


Below find the maximum ERP/EIRP Numbers for the LTE Bands relevant to the Sprint variant:

  • Band 25
    • 5 MHz FDD channels: max EIRP 23.18dBm
    • 3 MHZ FDD channels: max EIRP 23.07dBm
    • 10 MHz FDD channels: max EIRP 23.14dBm

    [*]Band 26

    • 5 MHz FDD channels: max ERP 19.00dBm
    • 3 MHz FDD channels: max ERP 18.85dBm

    [*]Band 41 (Spark)

    • 20 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 31.86dBm
    • 15 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 32.00dBm
    • 10 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 31.97dBm
    • 5 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 31.65dBm

    [*]Band 4 (Roaming)

    • 5 MHz channel - 23.97dBm
    • 10 MHz channel - 23.96dBm
    • 15 MHz channel - 23.99dBm
    • 20 MHz channel - 23.88dBm

    [*]Band 17 (Roaming)

    • 5 MHz channel - 23.98dBm
    • 10 MHz channel - 23.99dBm

NOTE: This is using the better antenna, on the best channel in the band, and with robust QPSK modulation. Although Sprint currently does not use B25 3MHz or 10MHz channels, nor B26 3MHz channels, nor B41 5, 10 or 15MHz channels, they were included for interest as it is plausible that Sprint could use these in the future at some point.


Simultaneous Voice/Data and VoLTE


As always, a hot question is whether the Sprint variants of the iPhone 6 support simultaneous voice and data. And the answer is...no. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus do not support simultaneous voice on CDMA2000 networks. So neither the Verizon nor Sprint variant can do simultaneous voice and data using CDMA1X voice. Just like the previous CDMA2000 iPhone models.


The Verizon version will support simultaneous voice and data on VoLTE. Verizon is just beginning to deploy its VoLTE network. Sprint will not begin deploying VoLTE (Voice over LTE) until mid-2015 at the earliest. It is not known if the Sprint variant can receive a software update in the future to enable VoLTE on Sprint iPhone 6 and 6 Plus when Sprint VoLTE starts to go live next year. In the mean time, Sprint iPhone users will only be able to use voice and data at the same time over Wi-Fi.


Carrier Aggregation/LTE Advanced Support


And the last point to cover is Carrier Aggregation. Yes, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus do support Carrier Aggregation (an LTE Advanced feature). However, this new iPhone is only limited to 20 MHz total aggregation.


So the iPhone 6 can aggregate two 5 MHz channels (5+5). And it can aggregate two 10 MHz channels (10+10). However, the total of the downlink channels cannot be greater than 20 MHz. So the iPhone 6 cannot bond two 15 MHz channels or do a 20+20 combination (because these exceed 20 MHz total downlink).


Since Sprint is only deploying Carrier Aggregation (LTE Advanced) to its Band 41 (Spark) network at this time, the iPhone 6 cannot handle that. This is due to Sprint currently only deploying B41 in wideband 20 MHz carrier widths. So the minimum two carriers being aggregated for Sprint would be 40 MHz wide, far exceeding the capability of the iPhone 6. The same is true of Verizon and T-Mobile wideband channels. They cannot do Carrier Aggregation on the iPhone 6 either on wideband. Of the big four, only AT&T currently has no wideband LTE carriers (i.e. none that exceed 10 MHz).




The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus offer some pretty good ERP/EIRP numbers for Sprint customers, especially in Band 41 Spark. We expect some good and meaningful RF field results from our members soon. With Sprint announcing a new unlimited plan to lease a new iPhone 6 (16GB) for only $50 per month, some people are going to find a Sprint iPhone model irresistible.


And, as always, you can already start making your wish list for the presumed iPhone 6S next September. For wireless network enthusiasts like us, 40 MHz or 60 MHz Carrier Aggregation in Band 41 and support for Band 12 are at the top of most of our lists.


Oh yeah, and there was something about a wristwatch...


Source: FCC







EDIT: Removed Carrier Aggregation limitation of equal sized channels............................................


by Andrew J. Shepherd

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - 12:21 PM MDT


As many of you know, Sprint recently established a partnership with members of the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) as sort of a quid pro quo. This partnership is called the Rural Roaming Preferred Program (RRPP), and S4GRU wrote about the nascent RRPP in a recent article on The Wall.


In a nutshell, Sprint will gain pseudo native LTE coverage outside of its standard footprint, as RRPP members overlay Sprint's PCS 1900 MHz, SMR 800 MHz, and even BRS/EBS 2600 MHz spectrum on their existing networks. In turn, RRPP members will get access to Sprint's LTE footprint, and maybe even more importantly for many of these small scale operators, they will benefit from Sprint's and SoftBank's economy of scale in device procurement.


Going forward, Sprint will create a device ecosystem that supports not only its native CDMA2000 band classes and LTE bands but also its RRPP partner LTE bands, namely band 2 LTE 1900, band 4 LTE 1700+2100, band 5 LTE 850, and band 12 LTE 700. The Nexus 5 almost pulled off that quadruple play last year, but that last LTE band has been a sticky wicket for CCA members, since AT&T was able to get its boutique band 17 LTE 700 pushed through the 3GPP. It left many CCA members that hold Lower 700 MHz A block licenses out in the cold, as they lacked access to some of the most popular devices created by the AT&T economy of scale.


Today, that changes. Trumping a presumed iPhone reveal in the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) later this afternoon, Motorola unleashed the authorization documents this morning for the IHDT56QA3, the third variant of the 2014 Moto X to pass through the FCC OET. The big takeaway, as indicated in the title of this article, is that this Moto X with the expected model number XT1092 is the first Sprint/CCA/RRPP fully compliant LTE handset -- even if an iPhone variant possibly joins the group here in the next few hours.


In conclusion for this short Teaser, the FCC OET docs can speak for themselves. This table tells the whole LTE story for Sprint and its RRPP partners.




We wanted to bring you the scoop as soon as possible, but stay tuned. S4GRU may expand this article as more information is gleaned from the FCC OET docs or becomes available elsewhere.


Source: FCC


by Tim Yu

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Monday, August 18, 2014 - 8:14 AM MDT


[update] Sprint has announced the Sharp Aquos Crystal which confirms our findings and theories this certified device is indeed the Sharp Aquos Crystal.


While rummaging through recent FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorizations on a hot evening in late July, S4GRU staff noticed a curious new entry. It was a smartphone that supports the full spectrum of tri band LTE for Sprint Spark and, of course, CDMA2000 capabilities for native and roaming CDMA1X/EV-DO networks. However, tri band LTE has become commonplace among Sprint handsets over the past year. That was not the interesting part.


Rather, what was most intriguing about this entry was the manufacturer: SHARP CORPORATION.


Sharp, as a cell phone maker, is almost non existent in the North American market. Sharp doesn't even come across the public's mind when people think of an Android smartphone, but here it was -- confusing and exciting at the same time. S4GRU staff raised numerous questions and theories on what exact device it was until just a few hours ago when Sharp, along with SoftBank JPN, announced the Aquos Crystal smartphone in Japan. Additionally, tomorrow August 19th in New York, Sprint is holding a "Take the Edge Off" event, which S4GRU has been covering in The Forums since around the time of the FCC OET filing discovery late last month. How could both developments not be connected?


The FCC authorization documents for this Sharp smartphone show a cross section diagram and diagonal of 14.5 cm that measure extremely close to that of the 5.0" display model, making it highly likely that this mystery Sharp smartphone is indeed the recently announced Aquos Crystal smartphone.




The Japanese version is being released on August 29th. Below are its specs:


Dimensions: 67 mm x 131 mm x 10 mm

Weight: 140 g

OS: Android 4.4.2

SoC: MSM8926 1.2 GHz (Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad core)

Display: 1280 x 720 (LCD)

ROM: 8 GB, expandable to 128 GB (mSDXC)

RAM: 1.5 GB

NFC compatible

SoftBank LTE FDD * AXGP (i.e. LTE TDD band 41)


For the Sprint variant, the FCC OET docs make no mention of hardware (e.g. processor, display, memory), as that is not the RF purview of the FCC. But the hardware specs are likely to be the same as those of Japanese version, the primary differences being the band/band class support for Sprint. And below is a cursory look at the Sprint variant maximum ERP/EIRP figures:

  • LTE FDD band 25 (LTE 1900): 25.82 dBm
  • LTE FDD band 26 (LTE 800): 19.72 dBm
  • LTE TDD band 41 (TD-LTE 2600): 25.43 dBm
  • CDMA2000 band class 0 (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850): 18.62 dBm
  • CDMA2000 band class 1 (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900): 23.28 dBm
  • CDMA2000 band class 10 (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800): 18.98 dBm

It's nice to see Sharp coming back into the game in the North American market, and what better way to do so then by taking the edge off and using it to cut into the competition.

Specifications from Sprint

  • Sprint Spark™, a unique combination of advanced network capabilities built for data delivering peak wireless speeds of 60Mbps today on capable devices
  • Android™ 4.4.2, KitKat
  • 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm® Snapdragon® processor
  • HD Voice, virtually eliminating background noise and sound quality is dramatically enhanced on a call between two Sprint HD Voice-enabled devices on upgraded areas of the Sprint network
  • Wi-Fi Calling allows users to use their voice and messaging services over existing home, office and public Wi-Fi networks
  • 3G/4G mobile hotspot capability supporting up to eight Wi-Fi®enabled devices simultaneously
  • Wi-Fi® (802.11 b/g/n)
  • Google Mobile™ services including Google Play™, Google Search™, Google Maps™, Google Navigation™, Google Talk™, Google Calendar™, Google +™, Gmail™ and YouTube™
  • OfficeSuite: Easily edit every Microsoft® Word, Excel and PowerPoint document using the AQUOS Crystal, so you can work on the go, whenever you might be
  • Speaktoit Assistant: Speak to Assistant just like you’d talk to a person: update social media statuses, manage notes, search for interesting places and let Assistant get to know you to better anticipate what you’ll need

  • Harman Kardon’s LiveStage™ provides a more lifelike headphone listening experience by adding dimension to the sound
  • Clari-Fi™ technology improves digital sound quality by restoring all types of compressed digital music
  • Clip Now takes screenshots with one swipe and saves them with an embedded URL for easy sharing
  • Dual Cameras: 8MP rear-facing camera with flash (3,264x2,448 photo resolution; 1080p@30FPS video resolution) and 1.2MP front-facing camera (1,280x960 photo resolution; 720p@30FPS video resolution)
  • Advanced photo features such as night catch to brighten both subject and background for those tricky nighttime shots, sequential shots to catch rapid movements by using a simple button hold, and shutter detect makes it easy to capture unforgettable moments with your friends and family by automatically taking a photo when it detects a smile
  • Google Play™ with more than 1 million apps, millions of songs and books, and thousands of movies
  • App Pass – a U.S. Sprint exclusive subscription service that allows customers to access a hand-selected catalog of premium apps and games for one low monthly fee
  • Stereo Bluetooth® (4.0 + LE) wireless technology support
  • 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack


  • Dimensions: 5.16 x 2.6 x 0.40 inches
  • Weight: 4.97 ounces
  • Display: 5-inch HD frameless LCD display (1,280x720)
  • Battery: 2,040mAh Lithium-Ion battery

  • Memory: 1.5GB RAM; 8GB ROM; SD card up to 128GB (sold separately)



SoftBank JPN




by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 - 5:30 PM MDT


The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are reporting this evening that Sprint will announce tomorrow morning that it will stop pursuing a purchase of T-Mobile USA.


Furthermore, according to these leaks to financial media, it is also anticipated that Sprint CEO Dan Hesse will leave Sprint and his replacement will be named. The combination of the two companies was already cast as dubious by many because of the perceived reduction in competition in the American wireless landscape. CNBC stated that the final straw was the FCC decision last week not to allow Sprint and T-Mobile to jointly bid for spectrum in the 600MHz auction. It was seen that this move by the FCC was indicative of the Feds lack of tolerance of a combined entity.


We will add to the rumors by wondering aloud if Nikesh Arora will be named the new Sprint CEO. Arora recently was announced to be leaving Google as Chief Business Officer for a new position at SoftBank. Could this have been a play to move him to Sprint all along? UPDATE: Later into the evening, more sources have outed Marcelo Claure as the heir apparent to Dan Hesse. Claure is best known as the majority owner of Brightstar and already serves on Sprint's Board.


Stay tuned as more information is obtained!


S4GRU Members are discussing this in our forums: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/6013-sprint-reportedly-bowing-out-of-t-mobile-bid/?p=346787


EDIT: Added CNBC info at 5:55 PM MDT, Added Arora conjecture at 6:10 PM MDT. Added infor regarding Marcelo Claude at 8:15 PM PDT.


Sources: Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CNBC


by Josh McDaniel and Tim Yu

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 11:59 PM MDT


On June 5, 2014, LG received FCC OET approval for the LG LS990, otherwise known to handset consumers as the Sprint variant LG G3. Then, just two weeks later, on June 19, the device received a Class II Permissive Change filing that appears to show slightly improved radio capabilities.


The LG G3 has a strong spec/feature list:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat
  • 5.5” QHD display (1440 x 2560 pixel resolution)
  • 3 GB RAM
  • 13 MP back camera
  • 2.1 MP front camera
  • 32 GB internal storage
  • 64 GB microSD support

As expected, the FCC docs show that this phone does not support SVDO nor SVLTE, as it is a tri-band, single radio handset. It does include support for Wi-Fi calling. Unfortunately, LG didn’t include the antenna diagram with this flagship, opting to make that diagram a permanently confidential item.


Included in the documentation is also the testing certification for QI wireless charging, which has become prevalent on many flagship devices. Though it is not included in the actual retail device, which comes with a standard non wireless charging back cover, a wireless charging cover is apt to be available for retail sales soon after release of the handset.


On LTE, the G3 supports the following carrier bandwidths:

  • Band 25 3/5/10 MHz FDD
  • Band 26 1.4/3/5/10 MHz FDD
  • Band 41 10/15/20 MHz TDD

Radiated power levels for each LTE band show middle of the road performance, lower than that of some of the mid-range tri-band LTE devices available and/or coming to the market. For review, here is a summary of the radiated power levels:

  • CDMA BC0 (850) 21.03 dBm
  • CDMA BC1 (1900) 23.08 dBm
  • CDMA BC10 (800) 22.75 dBm
  • LTE Band 25 (1900) 21.28 - 22.9 dBm
  • LTE Band 26 (800) 17.49 - 20.51 dBm
  • LTE Band 41 (2500/2600) 20.37 - 22.87 dBm

While the publicly available FCC docs do not include the aforementioned antenna diagram, they do divulge the peak antenna gain structures for each of the supported bands/band classes. For best RF performance in an internal antenna flagship smartphone, we expect to see around -4 dBi for below 1 GHz, around 1 dBi for 1-2 GHz, and around 3 dBi for above 2 GHz. In those regards, the LG G3 is a disappointment, and that may account for its middling radiated power levels. For reference, below is the peak antenna gain table:



But as always these don't show the whole story as some devices that show higher power level actually perform worse than those which show lower power levels. It varies by device but it is an unknown until users run thorough tests against the previous LG G2 flagship and other flagships (Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, etc.).


The LG G3 was announced to be in stores starting July 18, 2014, but in a surprise move by Sprint, it was launched July 11, the same day that AT&T launched its LG G3 variant.




Android Authority

Phone Arena




by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - 5:30 PM MDT


Hold the phones! One day, you won’t have to worry about holding the phones as Sprint moves to VoLTE for its voice telephone services. That is because VoLTE (Voice over LTE) will allow customers to do a voice call and LTE data simultaneously. S4GRU is now able to confirm that Sprint is proceeding with Voice over LTE based on detailed information from an anonymous Sprint executive. He was able to confirm some of their plans for the transition to VoLTE for voice.


In recent months, Sprint has been quite mum about moving to voice over its LTE network. Maybe even a bit misleading about it. Causing some to believe they may not even move to VoLTE at all. Public quotes from Sprint have reiterated that CDMA will carry its voice needs for the foreseeable future and not being in any rush about going to VoLTE like all their competitors have proclaimed. And based on this new information S4GRU recently obtained, it will certainly not be rushed.


But Sprint is moving forward with a solid VoLTE plan that will see the lion share of its voice usage move to LTE. This is a relief to some S4GRU members, as they have been getting anxious as they hear other providers publicly extol their upcoming VoLTE networks. We will discuss some details of the plan as they were shared with us.


The Sprint VoLTE plan


Currently, Sprint is in the programming phase of VoLTE. This includes all the design criteria and functionality that can and should be included in their VoLTE system. This includes discussion and feedback from device and network OEM’s about feasibility and hardware support. When this programming phase completes this summer, it will then proceed with an FIT (Field Implementation Testing) phase.


During the FIT, they will be able to discover any issues and bugs that need to be worked out before OEM’s start mass producing equipment and VoLTE is instituted nationwide on the Sprint LTE network. Sprint VoLTE FIT’s are planned to be in Kansas, Greater Chicago (Illinois) and Virginia. Key roaming partners will participate to ensure interoperability.


An opening up of the VoLTE network to customers will be in a future implementation phase that is yet to be scheduled. The schematic schedule would have that be in Mid 2015, but it could be sooner if everything goes well in the wrap up of Phase 1, the FIT and the availability in the device ecosystem is realized.


Key Points


Sprint is proceeding with incorporating VoLTE into its network to capitalize on the following advantages:

  • To support both domestic and global roaming for its customers and customers of other VoLTE providers
  • Reducing the CDMA network (capacity, not coverage) by removing most of the voice burden to allow for spectrum refarming for additional LTE carriers (capacity)
  • VoLTE will allow HD Voice to be interoperable with several other providers by using the 3GPP EVS (Enhanced Voice Service) codec and integrating other networks together

Additionally, here are some details about how Sprint will implement VoLTE:

  • The Sprint VoLTE network will be designed to hand off calls to the existing Sprint CDMA network, including HD Voice calls, via the EVRC-NW codec
  • EVS codec standardization may not be achieved by the time Sprint starts deploying a VoLTE network. They will use AMR-WB and EVRC-NW for testing initially. This may limit initial interoperability of HD Voice in the beginning.
  • Sprint to SoftBank Mobile VoLTE calls should be able to use HD Voice from the beginning, and vice versa.
  • Sprint will leave some CDMA voice capacity indefinitely. However, ultimately the goal is to remove CDMA 1X Voice when coverage and quality is equal or better than customers experience today. Additional low frequency spectrum may be required, depending on future voice demand which is steadily declining.
  • VoLTE calls will not be given QoS Priority on LTE initially. Should LTE capacity constraints be experienced during a VoLTE call, the call will be handed over to the 1x network. As the LTE network matures and loads are better balanced, voice on LTE will be given priority over other LTE traffic similar to WCDMA networks.
  • FDD LTE networks will be preferred for VoLTE traffic over TDD LTE. TDD already has the uplink slotted for maximum data download efficiency. Adding additional uplink data demand for voice (which is synchronous in nature) on TDD (which is not synchronous) may cause a noticeable data upload degradation in voice demand scenarios. Due to FDD being synchronous in nature like voice calls operate, Sprint VoLTE will prefer FDD LTE over TDD LTE when possible to provide for the best network operation.

Interoperability over getting it installed now


One of the key reasons why Sprint is going to be last to the VoLTE race is because of interoperability. The most important attribute to Sprint for VoLTE is roaming with other providers. Early VoLTE networks will either not support interoperability, or will require significant upgrades or network changes to allow it. VoLTE is only now maturing to a state of interoperability where there are enough standards to ensure a system that can work with other providers.


Unlike the Duopoly and some other early VoLTE adopters who may not care for an open voice network, and may even be against it, Sprint is making sure that its network is designed with interoperability in mind. So it works with other providers from the beginning. Sprint is likely working with CCA and RRPP members. And this makes sense in context with remarks recently from RRPP partner VTel in Vermont.


The Sprint network is being designed from the get go to make sure it can host roaming for other LTE providers around the country and around the world, and also that Sprint VoLTE devices are capable of roaming on partner LTE networks as well.


LTE can finally be that bridge to a cohesive global voice and data network among different providers. Since the world is embracing LTE as the de facto standard, it would be a shame to miss out on that level of interoperability. Granted, there will be some band support issues, but OEM’s have made great strides in providing devices to handle a great many bands these days. The current Nexus 5 model supports many LTE bands already.


Sprint is banking on the slower and well planned route to VoLTE is going to provide a better network to seamless global interoperability for Sprint customers. Now if the FCC and DOJ will take notice and stop the Duopoly from buying out CCA members. This is the largest threat to competition in the wireless market currently, in my opinion.



gallery_1_2_2624144.jpgCCA Member Coverage Map. This is an illustration of what LTE and VoLTE could look like upon all existing CCA members upgrading to fully interoperable LTE/VoLTE networks.


by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 1:30 PM MDT


A few months back, Sprint announced new group partnerships with members of the CCA (Competitive Carriers Association) to expand the availability of Sprint LTE availability in many places across the country outside Sprint service areas. Additionally, Sprint has recently formed a subgroup of current/future LTE providers of the CCA that is referred to as the Rural Roaming Preferred Program (RRPP). Announcing such a deal with nTelos in May, and nearly another dozen in June.


Sprint is part of the over-arching CCA, and working with its large membership group to establish a national LTE roaming group. However, where the action is happening now is with the Rural Roaming Preferred Program. RRPP members are joining a specific Sprint alliance which gives them more direct access to Sprint, their vendors, technology, devices and most importantly…Sprint’s vast spectrum holdings.


As it has been explained to us, CCA members who are not a part of Sprint’s RRRP program are using their own spectrum and resources. Current disclosed members of the RRRP are regional and rural providers nTelos, C-Spire Wireless, SouthernLINC Wireless, Nex-Tech Wireless, Carolina West Wireless, VTel Wireless, Flat Wireless, MobileNation/SI Wireless, Inland Cellular, Illinois Valley Cellular, James Valley Telecommunications and Phoenix Wireless. There are more currently in discussion. Some speculate US Cellular will be announced soon, but we have not been able to confirm that.


The news of the CCA and RRPP partnerships was well received by Sprint customers and members of the S4GRU community. Our members have been stoked at this announcement for months. Craving more details. When is this going to happen? Where, exactly? And the most important question to our readers has been, ‘how will the service be treated…native or roaming?’


In press conferences, news releases and media coverage, it is often being referred to as “LTE roaming” deals. When people see the term roaming, they immediately conjure up ideas of monthly limits or added expenses. For instance, most Sprint postpaid plans currently limit their 1xRTT and 3G EVDO data roaming to only 100MB or 300MB per month. That’s not very much. So many of our members at S4GRU have wondered whether these “LTE roaming” deals would count against current very limited roaming allotments, or if something more generous would be provided on partner LTE networks. This has been the source of some anxiety to our members who want to be excited about this, but want to understand the full impact to their usage behaviors.


Drum roll, please…


We recently have received verification from a Sprint executive, who will remain anonymous, that the coverage with the RRPP providers will be treated as native. Fully native. When you are on these rural partner networks, it will be like you are on your Sprint LTE coverage and all your normal account usages will be allowed.


If you have a 1GB data plan with Sprint. Your usage on these other networks counts against your 1GB monthly allotment. And if you have an unlimited plan on Sprint, you can use unlimited smartphone data on these rural partner networks.


The executive said the point of these new coverages is to provide a seamless customer experience travelling from Sprint LTE coverage into these new rural partner coverage areas. To feel like they are on the Sprint network. And maybe even better in many instances given the lightly used rural nature of this additional coverage. They want Sprint customers, and in turn rural partner customers on the Sprint network, to enjoy a cohesive and expanded national LTE footprint. Something that makes them more competitive with the duopoly.


Some of these rural partners already have their own operating LTE networks on varied spectrum holdings. And others are counting on Sprint spectrum to host their LTE networks or supplement them. We are told that existing LTE networks from these RRPP members on frequencies that current Sprint LTE devices support should be open as soon as logistically possible. Maybe even this summer. They continue to work out some network bugs and billing/authentication issues. Additional LTE frequencies in Band 4 and Band 12 are anticipated to be added to new upcoming devices at the end of this year or early next year and will add even more mileage.


This is great news for Sprint customers. This will open up a lot more LTE coverage. Upon full implementation, the coverage will be quite expansive in square miles. When other CCA partner providers coverage comes online, Sprint should be able to handily eclipse AT&T’s LTE network coverage. Which has recently been purported to be mothballed by AT&T, with no timelines in place to restart. We currently do not know the details of VoLTE (Voice over LTE) on these partner networks. But a VTel Wireless executive did mention recently in a Fierce Wireless article that they were deploying VoLTE themselves. Sprint has been very mum on their VoLTE plans internally or through partners.


We currently do not know if the LTE coverage that is provided by CCA members outside the RRPP will be counted as native the same way. Though T-Mobile is a member of the CCA, they are not a member of Sprint’s RRPP. So Sprint and its customers may see some unique advantages in both off network usage being counted as native and the availability of many more spectrum bands and more coverage than other standard CCA members experience.


We excitedly watch and discuss the progress in S4GRU forums. Stay tuned.






CCA Partners Sprint referenced this past March:



by Josh McDaniel

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Friday, June 13, 2014 - 10:59 AM MDT


Earlier this year, rumors began circulating that Sprint and LG were going to release the LG G2 mini, a smaller version of the G2. The model number of the phone was even listed as LGLS885. Earlier this week, LG received FCC OET approval for that very model number. But is this phone too late to market, as the release of the LG G3 is rumored to be early this summer? No, it couldn't come at a more perfect time.


The phone is to have the following specs (according to the Sprint UA profile):

  • Qualcomm MSM8926
  • 1280 x 720 HD resolution 4.7” screen
  • Android 4.4.2 build LS885Z03 KitKat on board with an update already in the works to build LS885ZV2 (Android 4.4.3?)
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB internal flash storage
  • 32 GB compatible microSD card slot
  • 8 MP rear camera
  • 1.3 MP front camera

The authorization docs indicate the G2 mini to be potentially the first VoLTE capable Sprint phone to pass through the FCC. The key is "potentially." Authorizations for other G2 mini variants also include notation of VoLTE capability, so that may be just boilerplate at this point. Below you will find a screenshot documenting such language. Could this mean that this year's flagships prior to the G2 mini won't get VoLTE? Who knows? They could receive OTA updates, but Samsung and HTC aren't obligated.






Of course, being tri-band, this phone isn't SVDO nor SVLTE capable. We remind you of this every time because some still ask if they can talk and surf the Web at the same time on Sprint tri-band LTE phones. No, only on Wi-Fi. However, if VoLTE is enabled for use on the G2 mini, then it could allow voice and data at the same time. But until Sprint clarifies its VoLTE stance, we can't be sure such a feature will be activated any time soon. “QoS” could be the deciding factor.


As for RF performance, it appears that LG and Sprint have purposely optimized this phone for TD-LTE on band 41. EIRP levels for band 41 are around 5-7 dB higher than EIRP for band 25 and ERP for band 26. Why is that? One explanation is to help camp users on band 41 as the primary LTE band and use band 25 and band 26 only where band 41 LTE isn’t available.


A date for release has not been mentioned, but my personal projection is for the G2 mini to be available before the end of the summer.


Sources: FCC OET, Sprint UA Profile


by Josh McDaniel

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 4:45 PM MDT


Samsung and Sprint are planning to re-release the Galaxy S III in a Sprint tri-band LTE edition. According to the Sprint UA profile, the SPH-L710T has mostly the same specs as the original GS3, except the inclusion of tri-band LTE, and an upgrade to Android 4.4.2. Plus, in a nice twist, Samsung didn't make confidential the antenna diagram for this phone, so I include it for your viewing pleasure.




Remember, as with all other Sprint tri-band LTE handsets, this phone is not capable of supporting SVLTE because the single transmit path is shared among CDMA1X, EV-DO, and LTE. But the phone is open to be another Sprint Wi-Fi calling capable device based on the fact that Samsung made sure to include this phrase in the simultaneous transmission scenarios section: "Pre-installed VOIP applications are considered."




Also included is 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi with support for 40MHz 802.11n carriers. Unfortunately, in hotspot mode, all 5 GHz Wi-Fi is disabled.


Source: FCC, Sprint UA Profile


by Andrew J. Shepherd

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Monday, March 10, 2014 - 8:47 AM MDT


After official unveiling at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona a few weeks ago, the Samsung Galaxy S5 made public its authorizations in the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database at the start of this weekend. All of the domestic variants are there, including the A3LSMG900P, which in its tri band LTE configuration and "P" designation is the obvious Sprint variant.


As expected of a Sprint high end handset, the Galaxy S5 ticks off all of the checkboxes: tri band LTE, UE category 4, global roaming capability, 802.11ac, NFC, wireless charging, etc. It also appears to improve upon the RF output of last year's single band Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3. From a common uplink EIRP standpoint, the Galaxy S5 can max out up to 3-4 dB greater on band 25 LTE 1900, hitting 26.85 dBm in the middle of the PCS band, falling off 1-2 dB at the extremes of the band. Additionally, band 41 LTE max output looks relatively healthy at 25.03 dBm.


In a pleasing move, the FCC authorization docs for the Galaxy S5 do include an antenna diagram -- something that is unfortunately becoming less common, per my mention in the recent HTC M8 FCC article. But in this case, we are able to show a visual of the dual WLAN antennas required for Wi-Fi 2x2 MIMO support, allowing MCS index raw data rates up to 300 Mbps over 802.11n and 866.7 Mbps over 802.11ac. Previously, two spatial stream Wi-Fi has been limited to some laptops and a select few tablets. Thus, the Galaxy S5 is pushing the handset envelope in that regard. See the antenna diagram below:




Of course, with no separate CDMA2000 and LTE antennas, as depicted in the diagram above, the Galaxy S5 does not support SVDO nor SVLTE. No surprises there, since Sprint tri band LTE handsets have all been single radio path with e/CSFB.


But continuing on the Wi-Fi front, the Galaxy S5 does include a unique simultaneous transmission mode: Wi-Fi and LTE. Now, this is not simultaneous Wi-Fi and LTE in the typical sense that Wi-Fi is used to tether an LTE connection. This is a dual IP stack connection over both Wi-Fi and LTE that Samsung dubs Download Booster, allowing packets to be split up and delivered by both connections, thereby increasing data speeds.


Editorially, S4GRU has some concerns about inclusion of the bonded connection Download Booster, since it may engender "unlimited" data users to remain connected to LTE, too, while on secure Wi-Fi at home, work, school, etc. In most cases, Wi-Fi alone is sufficiently fast for all smartphone activities. And that is why S4GRU has long advocated offloading to Wi-Fi -- when/where possible and secure -- so as to help maintain valuable LTE capacity for truly mobile users. That said, we are curious to see the real world implementation of Download Booster before passing judgment.


Finally, many hoped that the Galaxy S5 might be the first Sprint handset to support LTE Advanced carrier aggregation because Sprint plans to use its acquired Clearwire spectrum to aggregate multiple band 41 20 MHz TDD carriers. That capability, though, will have to wait for the presumed Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy S6, or some other device.


The carrier aggregation omission is worth mentioning only because the A3LSMG900A variant headed to AT&T does support inter band downlink carrier aggregation. This allows the Galaxy S5 to bond up to 10 MHz FDD of AT&T's low frequency band 17 LTE 700 with up to 10 MHz FDD of its mid frequency band 2 LTE 1900 or band 4 LTE 2100+1700. Indeed, AT&T carrier aggregation is already in use in Chicago, as Gigaom's Kevin Fitchard reported last week.


Well, that is the FCC skinny on the upcoming Sprint variant Galaxy S5. Nothing revolutionary on the cellular side of things, but with MIMO and Download Booster, it does offer up some interesting Wi-Fi enhancements.


Sources: FCC, Samsung


by Andrew J. Shepherd

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Monday, March 3, 2014 - 5:37 PM MST


No one is publicly sure what the codenamed HTC M8 will finally be called. HTC One 2, HTC One More, or maybe pull an Apple move and just call it yet again the HTC One. Regardless, all of the big four domestic variants were added to the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database today. The last to have its authorizations appear online this afternoon was none other than NM80P6B700 -- the tri band LTE variant undeniably headed to Sprint.


As has been our trend over the past six months, we will still call this a teaser article -- albeit make it more extensive than usual. And we may not do a full RF breakdown in the future. Now that tri band LTE and 802.11ac, for example, are de facto standards among top of the line handsets, while SVDO and SVLTE have been laid to rest, there is less news to report on the RF side.


But we do want to run a brief RF ERP/EIRP numbers comparison among the high end HTC handsets that have graced the Sprint lineup over the past two years because, well, HTC has developed a bit of a reputation among S4GRU members for losing its lead in the RF performance department. Despite its moniker, the HTC EVO LTE was downright poor on LTE, and the follow up Sprint variant HTC One and HTC One max were average at best.


Numbers wise, the HTC M8 looks like a step in the right direction. Per the customary caveats, the available test bench measurements represent only maximum uplink ERP/EIRP, so they do not necessarily reflect the full two way RF performance equation. However, they can provide a decent advance peek inside at the RF proficiency of a handset.


In that regard, the HTC M8 offers some improvements over its predecessors. See the table snapshot below (or link to it on Google Docs):






More and more, OEMs are hiding behind the shroud of confidentiality and not allowing public inspection of the antenna diagrams in their FCC OET filings. HTC now appears to have jumped on that bandwagon. Fortunately, the Sprint variant HTC M8 docs do reveal some antenna gain figures, and those numbers are not always divulged, diagrams or not. Of note are unity 0 dBi or positive 1 dBi antenna gains for >1 GHz bands. Compare these to the -3.5 dBi antenna gain for PCS 1900 MHz in the HTC EVO LTE.


Additionally, though this is not apparent in the table because it lists only maximum figures, the ranges of max and min ERP/EIRP within the various frequencies in each CDMA2000 band class and within the various carrier bandwidths in each LTE band are more tightly clustered, more consistent than usual. This, likewise, could indicate enhanced antenna engineering.


And, finally, the single radio path handsets that have arrived in conjunction with Sprint tri band LTE so far have generally been better RF performers. Will the HTC M8 -- or whatever it gets called -- follow suit? Early returns indicate so, but once S4GRU membership gets its hands on a few samples, field testing in the coming weeks will tell the full story.


Source: FCC

Thread: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/5008-htc-m8new-flagship/


by Rickie Smith

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 - 3:30 PM MST



After a long time of no news on the Sprint Direct Connect app, there is finally something to report. On February 3rd, Sprint launched its Direct Connect Now app on six devices, plus announced three other devices that will get support for it in the future.


The app is free to download, but some plans have it as a service add-on for $5 a month for unlimited use. For other plans it's a free add on feature.



Phones now supported

  • LG G2
  • Galaxy S4
  • Galaxy Note 3
  • LG G Flex
  • LG Optimus F3
  • Kyocera Hydro Edge

Devices coming soon

  • S4 Mini
  • Galaxy Mega
  • Galaxy S4 Spark Edition

Now I haven't had any real world experience with it yet, but we would love to hear from people to see how it works compared to old Nextel Direct Connect.


Here is what we wrote about Direct Connect back in 2012: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/blog/1/entry-127-sprint-direct-connecttheres-an-app-for-that/